Saturday, December 15, 2012
3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – C
3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – C
Zep 3:14-18a / Phil 4:4-7 / Lk 3:10-18
Cry out with joy, O daughter of Zion; rejoice, O people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Yahweh has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. Yahweh, the king of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune. On that day they will say to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for Yahweh your God is within you, Yahweh, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for he has revived his love. For you he will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast. I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be shamed.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice and may everyone experience your gentle and understanding heart. The Lord is near: do not be anxious about anything. In everything resort to prayer and supplication together with thanksgiving and bring your requests before God. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The people asked him, "What are we to do?" And John answered, "If you have two coats, give one to the person who has none; and if you have food, do the same." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and asked him, "Master, what must we do?" John said to them, "Collect no more than your fixed rate." People serving as soldiers asked John, "What about us? What are we to do?" And he answered, "Don't take anything by force, or threaten the people by denouncing them falsely. Be content with your pay." The people were wondering about John's identity, "Could he be the Messiah?" Then John answered them, "I baptize you with water, but the one who is coming will do much more: he will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire. As for me, I am not worthy to untie his sandal. He comes with a winnowing fan to clear his threshing floor and gather the grain into his barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out." With these and many other words John announced the Good News to the people,
Today is traditionally called "Gaudette Sunday." It means "rejoicing Sunday," from the Latin word, gaudere, to rejoice. The rose candle on the Advent wreath is lighted today, a sign of joy.
The first two readings are all about rejoicing. The prophet Zephaniah sings to the people, "The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst. You shall fear disaster no more. God is going to do great things for his people. All is well; God is at hand." "Rejoice" is also the first word we hear from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians. Again, we are assured that the Lord is at hand, and this is a wonderful thought. That is part of what it means to prepare for a gift.
Rejoicing is also a big part of what it means to prepare for Christmas. The good news of Advent is that God is coming to you and to me. God's promises are being fulfilled. And we are to await that, to believe that, to realize that, and open ourselves fully to it. Then we hear the Gospel and the image shifts. God is no longer pictured as a victorious warrior exulting with His people, but as a wrathful judge, an executioner who loves His work. We are standing at the River Jordan, face to face with John the Baptist at his most intense. John does not say to rejoice; John says to repent.
St. Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious about anything. John tells his hearers to flee from the wrath to come. Everyone in the Gospel is asking, "What shall we do? What has to change if we are to survive the great and terrible events that lie ahead? "For the axe is already laid to the root of the trees, and fire is prepared for burning the chaff." This is a very different message from "rejoice!" And if you think about it, that also makes sense. For the Lord we await in Advent is a Lord who makes a difference, who changes things. He is a Lord who offers both new life and new responsibilities, and who offers them together, simultaneously. Part of what new life means is that the old life just does not work anymore because everything is different.
"Rejoice/repent!" This dual demand in the face of the coming God is addressed to all of us. It is part of Advent. We await and try to prepare for the coming of the Child Jesus, a child who changes everything. So Zephaniah is right. We are to rejoice, and give thanks to God, and sing. And John the Baptist is also right. This wonderful gift will also come as judgment, and with a power and a violence all its own. If we are going to take seriously the good news of Christmas, then things are going to be very different. For both the joy that Jesus offers and the demands that he makes cannot be truly ours if we remain exactly the people that we are today.
When the crowd at the Jordan River felt this crunch of anticipation and judgment, their cry of "what then shall we do?" John the Baptist said, "Look at who you are. Begin there. When it comes to sharing, share from what you have. Don't wait until you have more, or until your offering can be of a higher quality. Start now with what is already there. Practice justice where you work. Build fairness and mercy into your present dealings, your present life. Don't wait until you have a job where justice is easier or more noticeable. Don't wait to be somewhere else, or to be doing something else, or to be someone else. Begin with the road in front of you. Walk that road, and so allow God to transform the real life you live right now."
Repent and rejoice in all things, with the real life that we live in the real world. It really is a familiar situation. As it is with much else, repentance and rejoicing is our response to the reality of the coming of the Lord. Rejoice, for what is happening is wonderful. Repent, because from now on, everything will be different.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Chief Samrose Anyaugo
… for the personal intentions of
- Dr Ugo Anyaugo, Oge Anyaugo,Barr (Mrs) adaugo Barbara Okoronkwo,Engr. Ifeanyi Matt Anyaugo, Chuba Anyaugo and Ezinne Cordelia Anyaugo
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Virginia Ho Gotamco & Jovi Ho Gotamco
- Birthday: Emilie Yu
- Birthday: Bea C. Ventura
- Birthday: Francisco H. Suarez Jr.
- In Memoriam (+): Manuel Dee C. Ham
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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